Transcript for Episode 28: Exiles & Everyone’s Business

COLD OPEN

INTERVIEW
I’m a person who likes to be with other people, but definitely likes my alone time. When I’m with other people, I like to be lively, and fun, and active, and engaged. I like to have a lot of fun, but I like to accomplish things.

[Theme begins.]

And why I’m here on earth? Hm… I think my siblings needed a baby of the family.

 

PREVIOUSLY ON

JAMES CAPOBIANCO

Previously, in Greater Boston:

FAKE NICA
I’m Dimitri’s big sister, Nica! Together, we solve great mysteries.

ISABELLE
She’s been hit by that stuff. The beans. And they’re hot.

MALLORY
I don’t want to talk about it.

ADA WEST
Dear Daddy, Mommy said that you and she aren’t married anymore. That made me sad, and I cried.

OLIVER WEST
Well. Okay then.

[Sound of Oliver’s escape capsule building up pressure and launching.

S3 TITLE SEQUENCE

Multiple Voices

Fields Corner
Hyde Park

Want it in character voice or real voice?
East Boston
Alright
Malden
Red Line
Dorchester
Salem
Somerville
West Roxbury
Hanson
Worcester
Malden
This..
Somerville
Revere
…is
Uhh…I’ve lived in Leominster my whole life
Brighton
Uhh…I live in Milton, Massachusetts
Roslindale
(That’s where I’m from)
East Boston
I’m from Dorchester
This is…
South Boston
This is…
In Brockton
Medford, Massachusetts
[Laughter]
Red Line
Dorchester

This is…

This is…

This is…

Greater Boston

 

THIS WEEK

JEFF VAN DREASON

This week in Greater Boston: Episode 28: Exiles & Everyone’s Business.

 

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

[Industrial HVAC.]

[Whistling pipes. Something large approaching. Buildup of air. Large gust, and something heavy lands. A vacuum-sealed door opens, and a person falls to the floor.]

[Guinea pigs.]

LEON STAMATIS (Braden Lamb)

Oliver’s human-sized escape tube led to an underground bunker he hadn’t visited in years, somewhere between Red Line and the Blue Line; far below the trains and stations, but still connected to the abandoned tunnels branching into both the mobile subterranean city and the MBTA transit system.

He spent weeks poking around the crates of stolen goods and artwork, abandoned projects from another life, all while drinking coffee and reading the paper, which he’d set to deliver via a timed pneumatic tube.

[Sounds of paper being cut with scissors.]

When there was a story on Red Line, he diligently clipped it from the paper and burned it with a match, careful not to read a word.

[Match strike. Fire burns.]

One day he glimpsed equipment through the center of the paper, where a freshly clipped hole now was. The cages and water bottles and boxes of food pellets, incubators and bags of straw and grass and — wait, guinea pigs?

OLIVER WEST (Mike Linden)

Keep moving forward. That’s what I need to do. I — I need a new identity. This one is presently tarnished.

LEON

I’m still on the guinea pig breeding equipment —

OLIVER

Now, where is my rolodex. I’ll send a tube to Captain Lamplighter, along with her typical fee. Perhaps a bit extra, given inflation. She owes me a favor so I’m sure she can expedite the process.

LEON

He would always be Oliver West in his mind. Of all his names, it was his favorite. sounded legitimate, important, powerful, and Oliver had done all he could to make his life match the importance of its label. But — but now, this name wouldn’t do. So he would slip it off and choose another. Like a fresh pair of well tailored clothes.

[Sends tube]

OLIVER

There. Now what?

[Echoey knock on bunker door]

WHAT?

LEON

There was only one other person alive who knew about this location. He had dispatched Phillip on a dangerous mission shortly after arriving in the bunker. Phil had contacted Oliver using an established go-between, an information courier and professional handwriting imitator named Willard Maltby.

Why does that name sound familiar?

Oliver used Maltby to send Phil a cell phone and then left a message on the active device. He needed something…someone…attended to. He needed Michael…taken care of.

Huh. Michael. I’m guessing Phil had a deliberate misinterpretation of those words. Taking care of Michael by feeding him rather than disposing of him. That explains the groceries. Good for him.

So where was Philip, now? He had warned him to keep his distance, both from Oliver and the task he requested. Had he been caught? Had he led the authorities straight to his hideout? That didn’t seem likely. As careless as Philip could be, he was also exceedingly loyal, his finest quality. Was he swinging by just to confirm the job was complete? Why take such a risk?

OLIVER

Phillip? Is that you?

SALES (Rick Zieff)  (through door)

I’m afraid not, Mr. West. Could I have a minute of your time?

OLIVER

There is no Mr. West here, sir. I’m afraid you are mistaken.

SALES

Come now, Mr. West, there’s nothing to be afraid of! I have a business proposition for you. I’m guessing you may be interested, given the condition of your failed publishing empire and criminal activities.

[Vault door slides open.]

OLIVER

Who are you? Where did you get all of these extremely slanderous, very unverified and completely untrue notions concerning myself and my activities? How did you even find me here?

SALES

My name is Sales. Pleasure to meet you! I represent a private association, a…how should I put this? A business that makes it its business to know your business.

OLIVER

My business? What does it want with my business?

SALES

Oh, not just your business, Mr. West, everyone’s business! The Business of Everyone is Everyone’s Business! That’s one of hundreds of trademarked slogans, so make sure you don’t repeat it, I’d hate to slap you with a lawsuit after just meeting you. Heh heh heh heh.

OLIVER

That doesn’t make any sense, Mr. Sales.

SALES

Oh, just Sales, please. And I suppose you’re right. But neither does wasting your time and resources hiding away in a rabbit hole like this. What are you waiting for, Mr. West? Tumble down the rabbit hole and reach your destination.

OLIVER

I — I’m not sure what —

SALES

Let me put all my cards on the table, eh? We intercepted your request for a new identity. We can secure you one right here and now. I have all the documents and details in my briefcase. And all we ask of you is to continue your work with Red Line.

OLIVER

I — my work — I don’t know what you —

SALES

We’re very impressed with how you’ve been managing Mrs. Bespin’s campaign and we have no doubt with your continued influence, she can secure the position of Mayor and make the city reach its full financial potential. Red Line could be very valuable to us, Mr. West. All we need is an agreeable partner in a position of power. If you continue your work, I’m sure you can secure us that, no?

OLIVER

What’s the name of your …private association, again?

SALES

We have many names.

OLIVER

Give me one, then.

SALES

Perhaps. When the time comes.

OLIVER

How am I supposed to take you seriously if you can’t even offer any proof of your validity on the market?

SALES

Well, you’re not really in a position to request any validity, are you Mr. West? But that can change. We’ll work towards obscuring and eventually annulling your relationship with your former media company. We’ll inform the city of the large, derelict real estate space. They’ll eventually seize it and resell it at a short sale. We’ll purchase it over and over again, using different enterprises within our association to give the appearance of turnover. Then we’ll lower the price to such a degree that someone else will purchase it for the downright steal it will be, its illegitimate reputation now buried under a pile of legitimate transactions. Meanwhile? You’ll continue your work with Mrs. Bespin. You’ll secure Red Line for us. For all of us. And once you do? We maximize the profits of the city.

OLIVER

But — but how would I even begin to do that? With my reputation in my current state, I can’t possibly exercise control over Emily, even with this fancy brand new identity. And how would I even begin to make that preposterous train city profitable?

SALES

A good businessman doesn’t look at what he’s lost. He looks at what he has left. Down the rabbit hole, Mr. West. Stumble deep, deep down to Wonderland. The answers you seek are waiting for you there.

So. Do we have a deal?

 

THE SEARCH BEGINS

[Inexplicable Riddles theme.]]

DIMITRI STAMATIS (James Johnston)

Since the dawn of time, all of humanity has been drawn to the unexplained, the uncanny, the unsolvable. Stonehenge. The Bermuda triangle. The Loch Ness Monster. Bigfoot. The identity of Jack the Ripper.

[Dimitri’s IE intro fades to background behind Leon.]

Why do these mysteries haunt us and taunt us so? Why do so many of us stay up late into the night, obsessively pouring over clues with nothing but blind hope that they will find the keys to unlock these …INEXPLICABLE RIDDLES.

In 1971, a man hijacked a plane, ransomed $200,000, and then vanished without a trace. That mysterious skyjacker was commonly referred to as DB Cooper, and for decades, professional and amateur sleuths alike desperately tried in vain to solve the riddle of his masterful crime and bizarre disappearance.

LEON

Fake Nica had Opinions about all this. Opinions with a capital “O.” This show *was* a huge opportunity. These past three years, she’d landed 17 parts such as: “Party Guest #3,” “Panicked bystander,” “Blonde Murder Victim,” and her big breakout role “Clumsy Barista.” But now she was co-hosting her own show! Her own bullshit, cheap-ass, reality mystery show. Starring Dimitri and Fake Nica Stamatis.

LEON

Am I really supposed to keep calling her “Fake Nica?” She must have an actual name.

DIMITRI

I’m Dimitri Stamatis. And I’m the man who found DB Cooper.

FAKE NICA (Kristen DiMercurio)

And I’m Dimitri’s big sister, Nica. Together, we solve great mysteries.

LEON

Oh, I get it. She’s in character. Acting is weird.

[Cut to street noise, busy commercial buzz, Downtown Crossing.]

DIMITRI

Today we have returned to the city of our childhoods.

FAKE NICA

Our beloved Boston, Massachusetts.

LEON

Dimitri insisted on the location.

DIMITRI

We’re here to search for another missing man, a would-be philosopher king who walked the aisles of the subway preaching wisdom and reform and revolution—

FAKE NICA

—Only to vanish at the very moment of victory.

DIMITRI

Yes, today we begin tracking Professor Paul Montgomery Chelmsworth…

FAKE NICA

The Mayor of the Red Line, before the red line became Red Line, and before Red Line had a *real* mayor.

LEON

And Chelmsworth provided the justification for shooting here.

DIMITRI

We will comb Chelmsworth’s life and history, to settle the question: Was Chelmsworth a tragic hero, whisked away by unseen forces?

FAKE NICA

Or a cowardly fraud who shattered the promises he made and the dreams he inspired?

DIMITRI

Soon the world will know! Because…

DIMITRI/FAKE NICA

Stamatis and Stamatis are on the case!

LEON

Fake Nica approved, though. She wanted Dimitri to reconcile with real Nica. He wasn’t a bad guy, just kind of a mess right now.

SPENCER GREENE (Kenny Garcia)

Nice. Okay, we got the street level, got the tracking shot down the stairs. Let’s hit the sales floor.

[Transition to echoey basement space. Trains in the background.]

Everyone set? Okay…3…2…1 action!

LEON

She was determined to get Dimitri the moment he and his sister needed. If she could figure out how to do it without undermining the show.

FAKE

Filene’s basement was a fixture of Boston’s commercial hub, a destination for decades of happy shoppers.

DIMITRI

Now reduced to an abandoned, hanger-littered husk.

FAKE

It’s a total mess.

DIMITRI

I think back that way…yes, that looks like the manager’s office.

FAKE

Chelmsworth’s office during the campaign.

DIMITRI

Our first clue surely awaits us inside.

[Door opens.]

PROFESSOR PAUL MONTGOMERY CHELMSWORTH (James Capobianco)

Oh! Hello!

DIMITRI

Uhhh….

CHELMSWORTH

I wasn’t expecting visitors!

DIMITRI

But you’re…

CHELMSWORTH

Paul Montgomery. Salutations!

DIMITRI

Paul Montgomery.

CHELMSWORTH

That’s right.

FAKE

Chelmsworth.

CHELMSWORTH

My reputation precedes me! How flattering!

DIMITRI

But you’re…you’re just right here.

CHELMSWORTH

I am!

GREENE

Don’t stop! Work with it!

DIMITRI

But he’s right here! Sitting at his desk!

CHELMSWORTH

Um. Well, yes? Yes.

DIMITRI

We planned a five-part series! He’s been missing for over a year, and nobody thought to look in his chair???

GREENE

Not to me, Dimitri! Talk to Chelmsworth. Stay in the moment.

CHELMWORTH

I haven’t been here the *entire* time. Just the past few weeks.

DIMITRI

But, so that’s it? You went away, you came back, mystery solved?

CHELMSWORTH

Well, yes, though with something of an inspirational voyage between those two endpoints.

DIMITRI

An inspirational voyage? *You* had an inspirational voyage.

CHELMSWORTH

I did! I cut off all contact with my life back home and went out to see the world. I traveled the oceans for a while, subsisted on what fish I could catch, moored to the castoff detritus of civilization. I was detoured by an unrelated adventure, which led me to a person who’s been missing for many years. It was quite transformative, and crystallized my conviction to return, to rejuvenate my relationships with the people I hold most dear.

DIMITRI

And…and have you done that?

CHELMSWORTH

Done which?

DIMITRI

“Rejuvenated your relationships.”

CHELMSWORTH

Not…not as of yet. I haven’t quite found…the suitable circumstances.

DIMITRI

[groans]

CHELMSWORTH

I’d be delighted to offer an interview, if you’d like. Regale you with the entire tale!

FAKE

And that was the moment. Dimitri, having found the mayor, stood on the brink of repeating history.

DIMITRI

What?

FAKE

*His* history. Dimitri is a man who vanishes. Who goes off into who-the-fuck-knows-all where, and nobody sees him for months.

GREENE

Whoah, network!

FAKE

We’ll fix it in post, just stick with me here.

[Impossible riddles theme]

That’s what he’s about to do. We could see it–Dimitri practically quivered with the need to manifest a puff of smoke to disappear into.

And that’s what he did. He vanished into the urban labyrinth, pursuing his true quest.

DIMITRI

Oh. Okay.

[Dimitri exits.]

GREENE

Uhhh…

FAKE

We sought a missing man, with hardly an inkling that his return would spark another disappearance. I’m Nica Stamatis, and this is Inexplicable Riddles: The Hunt for Dimitri.

GREENE

Oookay.

FAKE

We begin our journey with the solved mystery, the elusive Professor Paul Montgomery Chelmsworth, in an exclusive interview.

GREENE

Oh. Uh. Okay. Should I just keep rolling?

FAKE

You should definitely keep rolling.

 

CRYSTAL CLEAR 2

[Monk chant.]

[Sound of chess pieces being placed with each movie.]

MICHAEL TATE (James Oliva)

Pawn to E4.

LEON

Pawn to E5.

MICHAEL

Pawn to F4.

LEON

E5 Pawn takes Pawn F4.

MICHAEL

Bishop to C4.

LEON

Queen to H4. Check.

MICHAEL

Cheeky. King to F1.

LEON

Pawn to B5.

MICHAEL

Bishop to B5.

LEON

Knight to F6.

MICHAEL

Oh? Well then.

[Drums begin playing a confident rhythm.]

Knight to F3.

LEON

Queen to H6.

MICHAEL

Hmm. Pawn to D3.

LEON

Knight to H5.

MICHAEL

Knight to H4.

LEON

Queen to G5.

[Drums pause.]

MICHAEL

Aggressive.

[Drums resume.]

Knight to F5.

LEON

Pawn to C6.

MICHAEL

Pawn to G5.

LEON

Knight to F6.

MICHAEL

Rook to G1.

LEON

Pawn takes Bishop, C to B5.

MICHAEL

Pawn to H4.

LEON

Queen to G6.

MICHAEL

Pawn to H5.

LEON

Queen to G5.

MICHAEL

Queen to F3.

LEON

How are you…Knight to G8.

MICHAEL

Bishop takes Pawn, F4.

LEON

Queen to F6.

MICHAEL

Mmm…Knight to C3.

LEON

Bishop to C5.

MICHAEL

Knight to D5.

LEON

Queen to B2.

MICHAEL

Bishop to B6.

LEON

Bishop takes Rook, G1.

MICHAEL

Are you sure that’s wise?

LEON

What is happening to you, Michael?

MICHAEL

Pawn to E5.

LEON

Queen takes Rook A1. Check.

MICHAEL (simultaneous)

Queen takes Rook A1. Check. King to E2.

LEON

Knight to A6.

MICHAEL (simultaneous)

Knight to A6. Knight takes Pawn G7. Check.

LEON

King to G8.

MICHAEL (simultaneous)

King to G8 and Queen to F6.

LEON

Knight takes Queen F6.

MICHAEL

Knight takes Queen F6 and Bishop to E7. Checkmate.

LEON

How do you keep anticipating exactly what I’m — ?

[Chant and drums stop.]

[Water. Swimming.]

 

MICHAEL

It’s like swimming in a pool. And every drop of water is absorbed instantly. A thought. An experience, a feeling. If it’s connected to another drop then I’m connected to it, to you, ripples on the surface of the water like—

LEON

Michael. Michael I think you need to put down the ball.

MICHAEL (echoing)

………………….. think you need to put down the ball. But there’s so much here. There’s so much to see. You were so good, Leon. All of these feelings and thoughts for me? Even the concern you have now, they’re all so real and pure and  genuine. (Laughs) Even your thoughts and feelings are organized in such a meticulous way.

LEON

I don’t think this is good for you.

MICHAEL

Does it work for you? Can you read me like I can read you?

LEON

No.

MICHAEL

You don’t know how this feels.

LEON

I don’t, it’s true. But I’m guessing you can sense what your behavior right now is reminding me of.

MICHAEL

Pulling me out of the bar. In college. Other times too. Caring for me. But I’m beyond that now and I get to experience it here, from a completely different point of view, a better point of view. Not out of shame or guilt or any kind of pathetic remorse, but from a point of pride and love and compassion and —

LEON

But that’s not meant for you to feel. It’s a manipulation. Those are my feelings.

[Slightly eerie musical drone.]

MICHAEL

Don’t you see the value in this?

LEON

No.

MICHAEL

We’ve never been closer.

LEON

We are literally arguing right now.

MICHAEL

Imagine if you could experience this for everyone in the world.

LEON

That’s not how life should work.

MICHAEL

Imagine the order in that. Knowing how everyone thinks, feeling their feelings all the time.

LEON

Put down the ball, Michael.

[Water increases. Rain and swimming.]

MICHAEL

Don’t deny the appeal of that, Leon, I can feel it in here, one of the molecules of water connected to billions. You like that idea. One of your biggest frustrations in life was how unorganized everything was and and and not just everything but everyone, including me, so imagine if we could all be like you and —

LEON

I don’t want everyone to be like me. If everyone were like me, I wouldn’t be me.

MICHAEL

But if we could all share this —

LEON

No!

MICHAEL

But I know so much more, now. I know so much more I know so much more I know so much more —

LEON

There are things you don’t want to know. Is that what it takes? Do I need to show you everything?

MICHAEL (repeating)

—know so much more I know so much more I know so much more —

LEON (sighs)

So be it. So be it. I’ll show you.

[Thunder rolls.]

MICHAEL (repeating)

—know so much more I know so much more I know so much more —

[Rain continues for some time.]

 

INTERVIEW

[Bluesy music.]

CHUCK OCTAGON (Jeff Van Dreason)

Have you ever felt like an exile or been banned from something?”

INTERVIEW 1

No. Nah. Not really. No. No.

INTERVIEW 2

Yes. When I was younger.

CHUCK OCTAGON

Do you want to talk about it?

INTERVIEW 2

It was back during my first three years of school. The children back there were not really happy that I was one of the two who would actually go to the library and actually spend time in there.

INTERVIEW 3

When I would sit down at lunch tables, there were a few people who, I can still remember their names. They would like, actually physically get up and move to a different table. And everyone noticed. But nobody ever said anything.

INTERVIEW 4

I think I kind of self imposed that on myself during high school, and through school in general. It was easier. A lot less drama.

SAM MUSHER

I was briefly a computer science major. And, uh, there was a..an anonymous message board in the department. And the…………..you know. Anonymous rape threats and stuff were pretty gross, and definitely made me feel like I didn’t belong in the department.

INTERVIEW 6

I’ve felt isolated in places where I’m not out, and getting misgendered a lot, cause then I fell mostly like…invisible or shut out.

INTERVIEW 7

As being a woman and being a woman of color, I do feel kind of like excluded from things that I feel like I should be included in.

JESSICA WASHINGTON

So there was…there were six of us that were from Memphis. And out of that six, only one of us new our heritage. The rest of us where, you know. Descendants of slaves, so we don’t really have those records. We were in the school, here in the northeast, where most people here know where they’re from. Most people here are first generation. They would ask us what we were, or we’re from, or where our parents were from, and the only answer we could give was “I don’t know.” And not knowing where you come from kind of exiles you from the rest of the black community because you should know.

INTERVIEW 9

When I was like around middle school, I felt like I’d done something wrong, and I was never forgiven for that for a long period of time.

[Music fades.]

 

GO HOME, CONVERSATIONALISTS!

[Sad violin music.]

[Street noise.]

LEON

Mallory missed her critter friends. She’d been in the hospital for weeks, with nobody to talk to except other people. But now she was out, discharged, released back into the wild. They said to have someone drive her home, like she even knew anyone with a car. Who would she call? Pazito, who she hadn’t seen in months? Raymo in San Bernardino, 3,000 miles away? Stupid Fuckin’ Jojo? No way.

Her mom?

MALLORY (Johanna Bodnyk)

Pffft. The hospital called her. And in three weeks, not so much as a…a…

LEON

Not so much as a “hope-your-skin-grafts-don’t-itch-like-inflamed-back-herpes” greeting card.

MALLORY

Not so much as a “hope-your-skin-grafts-don’t…don’t-itch…too-bad.” Greeting card.

LEON

Which was a relief, to tell the bullseye-fucking truth.

MALLORY

Which is…fine.

LEON

Nah, she’d get herself home and back to work, same as she always did. On her own two size-seven shit-kickers.

“Shit-kickers?” Oh, her shoes. Her feet. Okay.

But out on the sidewalk, she wavered, looking down the long path to the subway. She *could* call someone.

CHUCK OCTAGON

Here’s my number. Not for the news, not for an interview. That’s my personal number. For if you need anything. If I can help.

LEON

She *had* called him once, actually. Someone had to take care of her friends. Keep them in chow and water. Chuck-O was there for it. He fed her chinchilla, her mice, her parakeets, her koi. Even texted photos of each one, in case she was lonely.

LEON

And that was great. But that was enough. She walked herself down to the green line, inbound.

[Green line train, transitioning to busy outdoor market.]

She walked up to North End, found the food truck–shut down, no sign of customers. She wasn’t surprised—when she’d called into work, the phone just rang. A few days later, the line had been dead as a…

MALLORY

Dead as a…

LEON

Come on, Mallory. You can find it.

MALLORY

Well, just dead. That’s all.

LEON

[Sighs] She couldn’t come up with a good simile. It was just as well that she had no one to talk to.

The truck didn’t even smell that much like pot. But being in here made her think of that guy. Extinction Event. Except his name was Dipshit now? Which…yeah. That was about right.

He’d confessed. She’d seen him on the news, reported by good ‘ol Chuck-O. She’d never seen Chuck look angry on the news before. And not just about the ruined wedding. Chuck said Mallory’s name. Called her a hero. She imagined Dipshit watching the report in his cell. Dipshit with his moral pronouncements about doing no harm to any living thing. Would her injuries make him squirm? Would he cry? Like crying changed anything anyway. He was still the reason Mallory had bandages across her whole back and was supposed to be taking serious pain meds. Which she’d refused. I mean, duh. No way she was risking executive-style addiction BS, just to deal with pain.

But…Nica. She and Dipshit were always trading those files, like…what was that about? Nica was never mentioned, and she sure seemed like too much of a… bum…bumblefuck? [disapproving grumble]. To… to pull off such a complicated plan. But…where was she? Why was she gone?

But whatever. There was nothing here. She should just go home.

Except Mallory didn’t want to go home. Home was comfortable, and all her friends were there, all the things that ought to make her feel like herself again, all the things that ought to make her feel better. But…

She didn’t feel like feeling better.

She walked back up toward the Common, where she could sneak into the old abandoned Tremont street tunnel, where she could be alone in discomfort.

[Chains. Metal grate opening.]

It was locked, but Mallory could always get where she wanted to be, especially where there was urban wildlife to meet.

So into the tunnel she slipped. And regretted it. There was too much light. Too many tools and machines, and signs of human activity. Fresh sheetrock. New flooring.

[Whistling pipes. Humming lights.]

DIMITRI

It’s not like I remember it.

MALLORY

Whoa. Who’s that?

LEON

Dimitri.

DIMITRI

Dimitri.

[Music fades out.]

MALLORY

You’re not on the work crew?

DIMITRI

This used to be one of my spots. My sister and I would come down here, looking for treasure.

MALLORY

Most people just come down here to get high.

DIMITRI

Heh. I’d be lying if I said we never did. But it wasn’t about that. Not for me, anyway. I liked seeing places most people never saw. The things people didn’t know they’d lost.

MALLORY

If I hang out over here, are you gonna get all pervy dumb…head…butt?

DIMITRI

Hardly the place for romance.

MALLORY

Nobody said shit about romance…

LEON

Call him something. Insult him. He can take it. Just get him curious.

MALLORY

…s…scent-wipe.

LEON

Scent wipe?

DIMITRI

I’m just here to sulk. That’s it.

MALLORY

Good. ‘Cause don’t think I won’t fuck up your shit. I could totally fuck up your shit.

DIMITRI

Who couldn’t?

MALLORY

Well, all right then.

LEON

Come on, Dimitri. Ask.

DIMITRI

Scent wipe?

MALLORY

You know…scent wipes.

DIMITRI

Yeah…no. Not getting it.

MALLORY

They’re like moist towelettes? But for your cooch. With perfume, so your business can smell like a butterfly farting sugar cookies. Except that shit’s totally nasty for the whole bacterial biome we got going on, so unless you’re looking to start baking some actual bread up in there, you gotta just say no to that feminine-odor-shaming bullshit.

LEON

Okay. Getting better.

DIMITRI

And that’s what you called me? A scent wipe?

MALLORY

Well, you’re not big enough to be a douchebag.

LEON

Ha!

DIMITRI

Okay.

LEON

Now just keep talking. Dimitri, please…

DIMITRI

So, what are you down here for?

MALLORY

Same as you.

DIMITRI

Poetic synchronicity.

MALLORY

Sure, dude. That.

DIMITRI

What’s with all the construction?

MALLORY

They’re building gallery space. For Red Line. A nice dank little hole to stick some art in. It’s on hold, though, while they clean up…to clean up after all the shit that went down. But they’ll be back.

DIMITRI

Red Line. It’s stunning, isn’t it? A modern marvel, really. A new wonder of the world.

MALLORY

It’s cool. I go to school there.

DIMITRI

Yeah? What’re you studying?

MALLORY

Veterinary medicine.

DIMITRI

Wow. That’s impressive.

MALLORY

I know.

DIMITRI

I skipped that bit. College, I mean. They don’t really have schools for what I wanted to be.

MALLORY

I’m not taking that bait, dude.

DIMITRI

Bait?

MALLORY

I don’t give a shit what mysterious thing you wanted to be. Not gonna ask.

DIMITRI

Guess I won’t be able to camp out down here.

MALLORY

Wish I could help you.

LEON

You can.

DIMITRI

It’s fine. I’m used to sleeping rough.

LEON

Mallory, you can help him. You’ve got something you can give him.

MALLORY

Actually…maybe I’ve got something I can give you. Here.

[Tosses key.]

LEON

There you go. Thank you.

DIMITRI

A car key? You’re giving me your car?

MALLORY

Truck, actually. Go up to North End. Big Olive Garden food truck. Has “Go home interlopers” spray-painted on the side. But in Italian. “Vai a casa, interlocutori!” Which isn’t even right. “Interlocutori” means “conversationalists.” They obviously used Google translate, but it’s clear what they meant. Anyway, truck’s there.

DIMITRI

Wow. If there’s anything I can do in return…I guess you’ll know where to find me.

MALLORY

Sure thing. Listen, I’m gonna take off. I got shit to do, and sulking in a tunnel won’t get it done.

DIMITRI

That’s a point. Hey, I didn’t get your name.

MALLORY

Mallory. Just Mallory. It’s a mononym. Like Bjork.

DIMITRI

Got it. Thank you for the truck, Mononym Mallory.

MALLORY

Nah, it’s nothing. Not even mine. Catch ya later, scent-wipe. Unless I don’t.

 

FAKE NICA AND THE MISSING MAYOR

[Inexplicable Riddles theme.]

FAKE

Hello, I’m Nica Stamatis, investigator extraordinaire. Earlier today, my brother Dimitri and I set out to solve the months-old mystery of the absentee mayor of Red Line. In a stunning turn of events, it took only half a day; we found Professor Paul Montgomery Chelmsworth. And in an Impossible Riddles exclusive, Professor Chelmsworth is here now, to reveal the truth behind his disappearance.

Hello, Professor. Thank you for agreeing to speak to our audience.

CHELMSWORTH

Oh, it’s my pleasure, Ms. Stamatis. I certainly feel I owe the people of Red Line an accounting of my activities, and I am glad to have this opportunity.

FAKE

Why don’t we get right to the critical moment: The night that tens of thousands of Red Line citizens turned out to support your referendum, only to be tossed over without explanation. So…

[Music cuts.]

What the hell, man?

CHELMSWORTH

Well, you see, I was having trouble writing my victory speech. I’d been working away at it night and day for the better part of 36 hours. Acknowledging defeat is easy, you see. But victory? Victory was so outlandish an occurrence that it hardly seemed worth planning for.

FAKE

Whoah whoah whoah–Are you admitting that you had *hoped* to lose?

CHELMSWORTH

No, not at all! I just never expected to win. And it took only the briefest of self-reflection to realize that I was little more than a charismatic catalyst. An instrument of innovation. But not suited to the day-to-day needs of so complex an organism as a newborn city.

FAKE

You’d have been bored.

CHELMSWORTH

I’m not sure you’re entirely taking the nuance of my…

FAKE

Next question. Where’d you go?

CHELMSWORTH

Oh…okay. So I found an abandoned boat and set out to Spectacle Island. I thought the mood demanded some introspective isolation, a hermitage in the harbor, a bit of deliberate living. I moored there for the next few months, living off whatever fish I could catch.

FAKE

You pulled a Walden Pond, but your ego demanded a bigger pond. Got it. So…did any magical epiphanies hit you during your self-indulgent pity-party on Walden garbage dump?

CHELMSWORTH

Not right away. But then I found a message in a bottle. The old standard of impossible communication, a corked bottle washing in upon the waves. From a woman named…well this is funny.

FAKE

What?

CHELMSWORTH

Your name is Nica.

FAKE

Y-yes.

CHELMSWORTH

Well, that’s the same as the person who tossed this bottle into the sea! Nica! And it’s addressed to her brother Dimitri.

FAKE

You’re joking right? You’re making this up?

CHELMSWORTH

No, not at all. In fact, I have it right here.

[Opens drawer, removes bottle.]

FAKE

That’s…I mean…what the hell, man? He was right here! Like, ten minutes ago, you were just talking to him! You could have just handed him this message from his sister!

CHELMSWORTH

Really! How serendipitous! But…couldn’t you just tell him the message? You’re Nica, aren’t you?

FAKE

No. I mean…yes. But also no. It’s complicated. Look, just gimme that. I’ll get it to him.

CHELMSWORTH

Oh wonderful! I’ve accomplished something!

FAKE

Sure you did. Moving on: you find the note-in-a-bottle. Then what?

CHELMSWORTH

Then I realized it was time to return home. But first I went to Ohio.

FAKE

Ooookay. I’ll bite. Why’d you go to Ohio?

CHELMSWORTH

Oh, I’m not sure I’d like to talk about that. I had some personal business to attend to. An outstanding debt that required repayment. But now I’m here! Back in my old beantown burg, bountiful Boston, the home of my heart!

FAKE

No no no no. Bring it back to Ohio there, buddy.

CHELMSWORTH

Oh, I’m sure that’s not…

FAKE

OHIO. Spill it.

CHELMSWORTH

Oh…I…I suppose. If I must. Well…you might know that some years ago I was engaged to be married.

FAKE

Right. To to a Claudia Wellington.

CHELMSWORTH

I was hoping to keep her anonymous.

FAKE

We’ll be reaching out to her for comment. She gets to decide whether she’s part of this or not.

CHELMSWORTH

Oh. Of course.

FAKE

This was all nineteen years ago. What made you think she’d want to see you now?

CHELMSWORTH

Well, our relationship came to a  rather…ambiguous resolution. I never really gave her an explanation of my reasons for…you know.

FAKE

Abandoning her at the altar?

CHELMSWORTH

Yes. That. So I thought it was time I finally gave her the closure she deserved.

FAKE

Pfft. Closure’s bullshit. It’s a tool for manipulating people into talking to you past the point where they’re done talking to you. Nineteen years later, I doubt she was still waiting on a relationship post-mortem.

CHELMSWORTH

Yes. Well. She said something rather similar.

FAKE

And that was this so-called “debt” you had to repay? “Closure?” That’s it?

CHELMSWORTH

That was…part of it.

FAKE

And the other part?

CHELMSWORTH

There is some…money. That I’ve been setting aside.

FAKE

You tried to pay her off? Now? For what?

CHELMSWORTH

It wasn’t for her, exactly. It’s…it’s a college fund.

FAKE

Oh. OH. Damn, dude.

 

CHELMSWORTH

I didn’t know at the time. And it’s still possible that he’s not mine. He was three before I even learned of his birth. Claudia has never confirmed my assumptions. Whenever I’ve asked, she’s told me it’s not my concern.

FAKE

Yeah, man, I’d take that as confirmation and kiss-off rolled into one.

CHELMSWORTH

Yes, I agree with that interpretation. Which is why I’ve continued setting this money aside.

FAKE

Have you met him?

CHELMSWORTH

No. He wasn’t there when I visited. Apparently…he had left for Boston, hoping to find me around the same time I left for Ohio. A rather Gift of the Magi sort of situ…

FAKE

Nope. I’m absolutely not down for romanticizing this.

CHELMSWORTH

Yes, that’s fair I suppose. Anyway, after that, I came home. I’m really pleased to be back. Boston is the balm for my blues. And of course, I am eager to see the municipal marvel of Red Line. I listen to it rumbling past my office several times each hour, and it fills me with joy every time!

FAKE

You haven’t even gone down into the city yet?

CHELMSWORTH

Well, of course, my first step into Red Line will be an emotional entrance, an exceptional event, an elevating experience. It must be timed just so!

FAKE

You really lean on that alliteration thing when you’re trying to deflect, don’t you?

CHELMSWORTH

And, of course, the first resident of Red Line I am giddy to greet is the woman who truly ushered in this underground urbanization, the most magnificent mayor of Red Line, the extraordinary Charlotte Linzer-Coolidge!

FAKE

Yeah. I bet she’s looking forward to seeing you again.

CREDITS

[Bluesy music.]

Greater Boston is written and produced by Alexander Danner and Jeff Van Dreason, with recording and technical assistance from Marck Harmon.

Special thank you to our Greater Bostonian level patron Bridge, for all that you do to support our show. If you’re interested in becoming a patron too, please visit Patreon.com/GreaterBoston.

You can follow Greater Boston on Twitter @InGreaterBoston or on Tumblr at GreaterBlogston.tumblr.com. Follow us there for news, updates, and behind the scenes chats about the show!

This episode featured:

  • Braden Lamb as Leon Stamatis
  • Mike Linden as Oliver West
  • Rick Zieff as Sales
  • James Johnston as Dimitri Stamatis
  • Kristen Dimercurio as Fake Nica
  • Kenny Garcia as Spencer Greene
  • James Oliva as Michael Tate
  • Johanna Bodnyk as Mallory
  • Jeff Van Dreason as Chuck Octagon
  • James Capobianco as Professor Paul Montgomery Chelmsworth

Interviews with real greater Boston residents.

Transcripts are available at GreaterBostonShow.com.

Charlie on the MTA by Emily Peterson and Dirk Tiede.

Archie Macdonald of Kepoch by Dirk Tiede

Crested Hens by Dirk Tiede

Drums by Jim Johanson

 

COOKIE

MIKE LINDEN IN THE VOICE OF OLIVER WEST

I love that I have a rolo-dex. And I’m going to pronounce it like that. Rolo-dex.

JEFF VAN DREASON

Rolo-dex!

[laughter]

Candy? It’s actually just a rolodex of candy.

MIKE

Exactly. It is to keep my blood sugar elevated.

JEFF

Oliver’s diabetic.

MIKE

Well, he is now!

JEFF

After his rolo-dex.

MIKE
After his…After I finished my rolo-dex.

 

COOKIE 2

DIMITRI

An inspirational voyage. You had an inspirational voyage?

JAMES CAPOBIANCO IN THE VOICE O CHELMSWORTH

I did! Blahbity blah blah blah!

[Laughter]

GROUP

[Indecipherable.]

ALEXANDER DANNER
That’s okay. That’s pretty authentic to the Mayor anyway.

JAMES
Blah blah blah blah blah! Blah! P’blah p’blah p’blah!

JEFF
We’re gonna cut to Dimitri saying “what?!”

CONTENT NOTES

  • Strong Language
  • Themes of abandonment
  • Unintentional brainwashing
  • Reference to severe burns
  • Reference to semi-legal drug use
  • Return of the Olive Garden Food Truck
  • Bloviating via gratuitous literary allusion

 

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